Big Brother Brazil participant probed for rape

Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:47pm EST
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A participant in the Brazilian version of reality TV show "Big Brother" is being investigated for suspected rape of a fellow housemate while she apparently was asleep during the program.

Police on Tuesday questioned male model Daniel Echaniz, 30, who was shown in live images in bed with 23-year-old Monique Amin apparently having sex under the covers.

"The young woman denies she was raped and has not pressed charges," Rio police spokeswoman Edileide Macedo said. "We continue to investigate the case because it is a public matter."

Television network Rede Globo expelled Echaniz from the program on Monday after a seven-minute video of the bed scene was posted on the Internet and police were called in to investigate.

Police collected possible evidence from the set of the reality show, including the bed sheets, the police spokeswoman said.

"Big Brother" is a television show in which a group of people live together in a large house, isolated from the outside world but are continuously watched by television cameras. Housemates try to win by avoiding periodic evictions from the house. Localized versions run in countries around the world.

It was not clear from the images taken with a night camera whether Amin was asleep. In the video, she barely moves. Brazilian media reported she had passed out from drinking alcohol at a party before going to bed.

Her mother was sure she was out of it. "Without any doubt, my daughter was asleep," Claudia Amin told a local newspaper.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)